"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
"This Elizabethan prophecy, that we repeat so often in one of our most favorite prayers
"Rejoice, O Virgin Theotokos,
"was followed by Mary's hymn, Mary's prayerful prophesy, which is especially important for our attention on the day of her glorious Dormition.
"And Mary said: 'My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.'
"From her childhood her entire life was dedicated to God. Her very birth from the childless and elderly parents was a miraculous one. From her infancy her home was th e Temple, where she was presented at the age of three years, and was totally dedicated to God. The angel Gabriel appeared to her and announced the will of God, telling her that the Son of God was to be born of her. In an act of voluntary humility and lov ing obedience, she accepted on behalf of the whole of humanity this good news, this good will of God concerning her. What remained for her to say, how to begin her hymn to God which we so very often hear in our churches, if not by the glorification of God who loved her, and was loved by her - My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
"And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation,
"Mary continues her prayer to God.
"Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice in Him with trembling.
"So said her ancestor King David in one of his early psalms. There is no fear in this , no trembling as in the humiliation of a slave. This is a fear before a mystery, the fear before a holy thing. And the Virgin Mary understands that only in such fear of God, such trembling before Him, prayerful trembling, 'generation upon generation' of His children will find His unceasing mercy.
"He has put down the mighty from their thrones and raised the lowly.
"How many falls from thrones has the history of humanity seen? How completely their glory has disappeared from historical memory. Their names do not appear in the Christian calend ar, which flows over with names of the humble, of the saints elevated by God into eternal and heavenly glory.
"He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
"How many of those who thirst in spirit have been nurtured 'not by bre ad alone', but by the word of God? How many rich and wealthy, self-glorifying, self-exalting, the ones who advertise themselves, have been
"sent away empty,
"have disappeared in the darkness of time?
"as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.
"These are the concluding words, the crowning words of the hymn of the Virgin Mary. The entire history of the Old and New Testaments of this humanity is tied together by these words. And in the c enter of this history we see the one who is full of light and holiness, from whose mouth, from whose heart flows this great and inspired glorification of the mighty providence of God concerning man:
"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in Go d my Saviour.
Fr. George Benigsen
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